November 1, 2010 | 10:00am
In honor of our People Issue, which will hit newsstands and computer screens November 25, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
Allen Charles Klein is a lucky guy. At least, that's what he says. We know otherwise. His talent as a scenic and costume designer is revered from England to Spain. Even from his sketches, you can tell that his fame has relied a lot more on skill than fortune. Klein travels from coast to coast and continent to continent lending his
artistic vision to opera houses as a freelance opera designer. Lucky
for us, Klein has also lent his eye to the Florida Grand Opera,
designing sets and costumes for about 20 FGO productions.
Growing up in a family of artists in Brooklyn, he started taking art classes by the age of seven. He went on to study at New York's High School of Music and Art, deciding in his early teens that he was destined to become a theater designer. While studying theater design at Boston University, he discovered opera and has been in love ever since, bestowing his skills upon opera sets and opera singers in Canada, England, Spain, Austria, and Germany.
"After graduating from college I had the good fortune to meet Bliss Hebert who was a talented young director of opera and we began our long collaboration. I live a very special life on two continents, I have my health and I have design work in both opera and product design. I have been extremely lucky! I often think that I will have to pay for my good luck in the after life.......but I don't expect to find out for a while yet!"
Set for Turandot
Photo by Deborah Gray Mitchell
1. List five things that inspire you.
Inspiration comes from life, and so there are endless things which inspire me, but amongst them are music, especially opera and chamber music. The view of vineyards and forest from the windows of my house in Alsace, the view of Biscayne Bay from my apartment in the Palm Bay Towers, my beautiful home environments and the memory of friends, family, colleagues, teachers and mentors who have gone before me. I include in the group of colleagues the composers of opera whose works I interpret, as I consider them to be colleagues even though they may be long dead.
2. What was your last big project?
The first two years of FGO being in the new opera house provided me with the challenge of designing Aida and La Traviata. Thanks to Robert Heuer, who invited me and my partner Bliss Hebert to design and direct these two productions.
3. What's your next big project?
We are at the moment in rehearsal for Turandot, which opens on November 13. After that, my next big project is to get back to France and prune my wisteria.
4. Why do you do what you do?
Because I must! I have no choice; it is my destiny! I don't question it.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you? What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?
Nothing special to either question.
The Creatives so far:
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar
90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon
100. Ingrid Bazin